Noida: Lone power theft police station has four officers to solve 3,350 cases
Two years ago in September, the Uttar Pradesh government opened a dedicated anti-power theft police station in each district to relieve the district police of the burden of solving power pilferage cases. And while the lone such station in Gautam Budh Nagar, in Sector 63, has lightened the load on the district police, it may very well fold under the weight of the cases it now shoulders-- the responsibility of solving 3,350 power theft cases with just four officers.
Anita Upadhyay, the circle officer of the police station, said currently, there are 19 employees at the police station. Besides her, there is one inspector, two sub-inspectors, nine head constables, four constables and two computer operators. “The sanctioned strength of sub-inspectors for the anti-power theft police station is five. As a result, the responsibility of submitting the charge-sheets lies with only two sub-inspectors,” she said.
Upadhyay said over 5,000 cases of power theft have been registered there since its inception. “Of these, we have submitted the final report in nearly 1,600 cases, after recovering ₹1.76 crore from the offenders. In 300 other cases, where the accused didn’t appear to clear their dues or fines, we have submitted the charge-sheet before different courts in the district. Our sub-inspectors are working hard to dispose of the remaining cases but it’s tough considering the huge caseload,” said the circle officer, adding that most of the pending cases are from last year or the current year.
“We’ve sent the requisition for more officers, particularly sub-inspectors, to the state headquarters and hope that they are posted soon. It is apparent that after the Covid-19 outbreak, our enforcement and investigation has slowed down. However, the pendency in investigation is mainly due to delay in the assessment of revenue by the power divisions, late submission of reports about the revenue realised and the compounding amount paid by the offender by the sub division/division to the investigating officer. In some cases, the offenders are not informed about the FIR registered against them by the enforcement teams. As a result, (s)he does not pay the penalty till (s)he is informed about the FIR,” said Upadhyay.
When contacted, Virendra Nath Singh, the Noida divisional chief engineer of Pashchimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (PVVNL), said since 1986, enforcement squads were constituted, comprising police personnel on deputation to the power corporation, which worked on detecting and preventing power thefts.
“The cases, registered by these squads and the corporation’s own enforcement teams were investigated by the local police station. But now, the dedicated police station has been helping the enforcement wings of the distribution companies (discoms) to get the FIRs registered promptly. The monitoring of FIRs and investigations by the officers of the anti-power theft police station has helped us detect and prevent electricity pilferages more effectively,” said Singh.
He further said a close followup of the investigations has led to timely disposal of cases. ”On receipt of payment of the compounding amount and the assessed revenue, the final report is filed by the investigating officer. This has resulted in a quantum leap in the number of final reports filed. Only contested cases of revenue assessment lead to the filing of the charge sheets, as the penalty would not be paid. The phenomenal increase in penalty collection has contributed significantly to the exchequer of the discoms,” said Singh.